The Indian football team has been drawn in Group A in the men’s competition at the upcoming Asian Games in China, while the women have been pooled in Group B.

This comes just a day after the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and the Indian Olympic Association cleared the Indian men’s and women’s football teams to travel to Hangzhou for the continental event.

It is a favourable draw for the 99th-placed Indian men’s team with China (80th) being the only higher-ranked side in their group. The other two teams in the group are Myanmar (160) and Bangladesh (189).

The top two sides at the end of the group stage advance to the Round of 16.

The Indian women’s team, who are ranked 60th in the world, will have their task cut out with Chinese Taipei (37) and Thailand (44) in their way.

For the past week, there has been discussion within the ministry and the IOA about the participation of the two teams at the Asian Games. Based on ministry guidelines, “only those sports which have achieved a ranking up to eighth among participating countries of Asia” will be considered for selection.

While the men’s team is ranked 18th in Asia, the women’s team is placed 11th.

Also read – Long run: Why India should send its men’s football team to the Asian Games in China

In their last appearance at the Asian Games, in 2014, the men’s team finished at the bottom of their group behind UAE and Jordan with two losses in as many matches. The women’s team finished third, losing to Thailand and South Korea, but beating Maldives.

The Indian teams' respective groups

Women's football, Group B
Men's football, Group A
India India
Chinese Taipei
China (Hosts)
Thailand Myanmar